Day 9 – Saturday March 6: It’s a long way to Lago Epuyen, a long way I know
Today we cover a nominal 87km, but as it turned out, over 53 miles -- though still on pavement, making our way from El Foyel to the Hostel Lemuria near Lago Epuyen. After breakfast and breaking camp we still get a relatively early start onto the road. At about 40km we arrive in El Bolson, the largest town in the region, where we had planned to stop for lunch. No one’s hungry enough to eat, but it’s market day in Bolson, and we spot a huge market place set up with booths selling all kinds of crafts and other goods, so we wander around marveling at stuff. The town apparently has a reputation as a kind of “hippie” town, whatever that might mean these days. Counterculture perhaps, with the occasional wafting scent of dope? In any case we all agree it’s a dandy place, but have to move on after shopping.
The road stretches on and on as the afternoon heats up, and some of the hills are miles and miles long. After a final uphill wringer through what has become ovenlike heat, we come to a 5km stretch of unpaved road, a shortcut leading down to Lago Epuyen and the pleasures of Hostel Lemuria, with sweeping grounds and clean comfortable rooms. Behind the main house is a boat about 35 feet long which has been converted into a bedroom, and the guides stay there. It is Anibal’s last day and in the morning we’ll be joined by his replacement from Dirty Bikes, Tristram – yes, a German who grew up in Argentina.
All of us are tired and we relax into the comforts of the hostel. Some try to reach the lake but it seems to recede before them, so another fishing trip is caught and released. Beerish re-hydration does occur however, and rest before another amazing meal at nine. Then another night with a clear sky. For our ride tomorrow there’s some dark talk about the beginning of gravel, the main surface of the Carretera Austral.